What I want is a way to memorialize some of the better photos to share with family members. I’m not much on Photoshop but I’m adept at point and click. So, my new year projects is to get into the portrait retouching business. Without the business.
I just want to click and make mediocre photos look like studio masterpieces but without the expense.
Peter Piper Picked A Powerful Portrait
Dinking around in Photoshop Elements is fun, but there are limits to the results. Even this Lite version of Photoshop requires more than an evening of experience to make portrait photos pop out.
After digging through half a dozen photo enhancement apps I settled on Perfect Portrait.
Why? Did I mention point and click? That’s a must. Sliders, too. I can do sliders.
After that, the app has to do all the heavy lifting to take an ordinary photo from the family DSLR and convert it to a family masterpiece that relatives will love.
This is a retouching app that goes well beyond expectations and beyond iPhoto. Not only is there Automatic Face Detection (where Perfect Portrait finds the features in faces), there’s Automatic Feature Detection.
That lets you focus on eyes and mouth and smile with point and click and slider tools. Take a look at a few samples and the intuitive interface.
The tools let you focus on just what’s important for quality portraits. Some tools are used to reduce blemishes. Others enhance eyes (both color and white), or lips and teeth (get a whiter than reality smile).
The sliders give you control over the depth and strength of each enhancement, and you see the adjustments take place immediately. Adjust the skin tones, shine, shadows, even the skin’s texture by using accurate slider tools.
For example, the Retouch Brush lets you pop pimples the digital way. Simply click on a pimple and Perfect Portrait makes it go away and smooths over the skin where the prom busting, nose dwelling offender once lived.
View your original and enhanced portraits side by side so you can see the effects of your point and click and slide efforts. Seven modules give you control over Layers, Mask, Portrait, Effects, Blurs, Frames and Resizing.
As you improve in skill there’s a manual tool which lets you implement effects exactly where you want. Hate tanning salons? Hate the sun? Bask in a digital tan using the SkinTune Color Correction tool.
What’s really interesting about Perfect Portrait is the ease with which effects and enhancements are dropped in on otherwise mundane photos. The end result is a startling contrast.
Did I mention 14 ways to retouch your photos? My bad. Forgive me. It’s the wine talking. There are many more than 14. Dozens, actually. The presets will get you started because they’re almost automatic. Once you get the hang of each Basic tool, then click to the Advanced tab and go crazy.
Crazy? Yes. Perfect Portrait really is more of a professional tool (works with Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop or standalone) that’s just plain easy to use, and everything you do a loved one’s digital face is non-destructive.
If you need more than iPhoto and find Photoshop Elements to be too cumbersome to use to improve face photos, try this app. It’s actually fun to use but the results speak for themselves. Perfect Portrait is a tad expensive, but easier to use than the expense would indicate. Besides, there’s a 30-day free trial.